Scary October – Day #19

Good morning everyone! I want to thank those who left encouraging comments yesterday regarding my brother-in-law’s accident. I really appreciate the concern and will keep you posted as to his condition.

In keeping with yesterday’s theme, the ‘What if’ scenario, I thought I’d feature the story of another of my writer’s group. Evelyn Woodward is one of the founders of the group. I met her back at World Con in 1995 shortly after I entered the writing world. I was invited to join her group and one another, at that time. At first, I joined the other group but kept in touch with Evelyn, eventually deciding to get their opinions of my writing, as well. When the other group disbanded a few years later, I remained with Off The Wall, and we have since invited some of the other members that I have already featured here and here.

I will post her interview on Sunday but, until then, all I will tell you is that she loves asking the question, ‘What if?’ Here is an excerpt from her story, The Way of the Kyma:

The Way Of The Kyma

From the moment Elizabeth looked into the doctor’s eyes, she knew that Andy had finally managed to kill her. All she could do was question his method.

“Dr. Mankowski, I don’t understand. What are you trying to tell me?”

“It’s the results from the lab, Elizabeth. We did all the tests.”

Elizabeth’s mind jumped back to the barrage of tests Dr. Mankowski had ordered. She was poked, prodded, scanned and ultra sounded. Her arms were purple from the blood tests and she felt that if she had to pee on command one more time, she would scream.

“I’ve tried to get more information, but it all adds up to one thing. With this toxic chemical in your system, you will die.”

The young woman sitting across the desk felt like she would shrink down into the hard plastic chair.

“How?” she asked, her voice cracking on the word.

“Like your mother,” the doctor said, looking at the file in front of him. “We didn’t know what was doing it until her autopsy. Her organs just shut down. What we found was a substance only rumoured to exist. It is connected to the military. That’s all I know.”

“Andy,” Elizabeth whispered. Clearing her throat, she went on, “This substance…”

“Is in you. The level is not as high as it was in your mother, but it seems to be cumulative. Now, even if you never have it near you again, it is too late. We don’t know how to remove it from your body.”

The doctor was babbling, telling Elizabeth things she could hardly absorb. Her mind whirled. Time seemed to slow and her focus narrowed. His faded grey eyes behind his old-fashioned wire-framed glasses avoided hers. His hands played with the papers. She absently noticed he had stubby fingers. How could a doctor who performed surgery, work with such stubby fingers? Her mind was avoiding the issue at hand. The desk in front of her was softly finished walnut. She reached out to touch the warm texture, then drew back to the issue again. Death.

“Why?” she asked. “I’m just tired. People don’t die from being tired! I don’t feel poisoned.” But the reality was, she did.

“I know,” he said. His sympathetic tones told her that he really hated telling her the bad news. “I suspect that the pollution levels in the city have aggravated it, but we have no proof yet. We can’t find this substance in any samples that have been taken throughout the city. If you know anything…?”

“How long?”

“Six months to a year,” he sighed, finally looking at her and then quickly looking back down at the file. “Your only hope would be a miracle. I’ve never seen one of those, but I have heard of them. Look, there is a support group that can help you deal with this. Try to stay calm. I will help you with whatever palliative care you need. You can get the contact numbers from my receptionist.”

Stay calm? She thought. Calm? There he sits telling me that I will die in six months and he wants calm. I could tell him what to do with his calm and his six months!

She got up without a word, left the office and went outside, ignoring the doctor and his receptionist as they called her name. A shiver went through her as she passed through the throngs of nameless people going about their busy lives. Many of them looked as tired as she felt. Did they have a possessive spouse who would rather kill them than let them go? Naturally, it was raining and cold. She must have taken the bus home, but she didn’t remember the ride at all. Her mind was numb from the shock.

*

I know this may not seem like a horror story to you but, for me, I think this part is pretty scary. It’s a real-life sort-of scary. After all, wouldn’t you be terrified if you’d been told you only have six months to live? I’ve known many women who have survived their various bouts of breast cancer, but I also had a few friends who weren’t as lucky, so this part of Evelyn’s story is more than a little terrifying for me, especially if I put myself in her character’s place. If you don’t think this is ‘horror’, imagine that the toxins in Elizabeth’s body were like a serial killer, waiting for the right moment to jump out and kill her! 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt and will come back on Sunday to learn a little more about Evelyn. 🙂

Scary October – Day 12

I’d like to introduce another of my writer’s group, Cas Courcelle. Cas has many titles out there in the Harlequin stable, but has decided to do something a little different. I’ll post her interview on Sunday. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from her novel Down Dark Deep, a very creepy thriller:

Down Dark Deep

Blurb:

‘Strange mother; bizarre childhood.’ Kit’s flippant words belie the heartbreak that was her start in life. Chased by the past and a man who wants her dead, she is in hiding. Her refuge is threatened when she stumbles into another man’s madness and his fixation drags her deep into his distorted reality. His sanctuary from a hostile world could become her tomb; escape could drive her back to a killer.

Excerpt:

Who was it? Who?

She saw a hint of a form behind the light, then a blurred movement. There was a muffled grunt, a scurrying sound, a shout. The light bounced with uncontrolled wildness, then stopped suddenly and flared up at the ceiling.

Kit could see Ruben’s back lit figure.

She held her breath and waited.

A man’s voice called out Ruben’s name.

Kit’s last little bit of hope died. This second man knew Ruben. He wasn’t here to rescue her.

She listened dispassionately as Ruben attacked. She heard the thud of fist meeting flesh, the growls of rage, the grunts of pain. She didn’t give a damn what they did to each other. She hoped they’d both be hurt bad enough to lessen the threat to herself.

She heard a cry of sound that grew to a chilling chant. Ruben’s voice.

—killthefather, killthefather, killthefather—

Swaying shadows, shadowy outlines, panting breath, a sharp shout of pain, then silence. Kit raised her head just a bit and stared over the blackness in front of her. There was little to see but a coned flare of light rising from the cave floor.

Suddenly the light moved, skittered around, then steadied.

The hand holding it lowered. Both disappeared into the rock.

Kit’s breath came in a startled gasp in the sudden darkness. She calmed herself. One man had left, the other was down.

Ruben or the father?

What did it matter?

 

Thanks for the excerpt, Cas! Hope it sparks an interest in Down Dark Deep. 🙂

Scary October – Day 11

I’d like to introduce the work of  young woman, Megan Cashman. She contacted me late last week and asked if I would post a part of her vampire story. Of course I said, ‘YES’! So here it is:

The Dark Proposal (The Claire McCormick Trilogy)

Blurb:
If your boyfriend suddenly reveals he’s a vampire, and also wants to make you one or else…what would you do? That is the dilemma college graduate Claire McCormick faces. Her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Daniel Bertrand reveals he is a murderous vampire who wants her to be his companion forever. But when Claire hesitates at his proposal, her life spirals down into a nightmare. She has to choose between becoming an evil being herself or have her and her loved ones suffer. The Dark Proposal explores Claire’s fears while she makes her decision. Along the way, she learns the true, sinister reason why Daniel wants her to be vampire.

Warning: Contains some graphic scenes and some strong language

Excerpt: 

There was a pregnant pause with both waiting for the other to speak or make the first move. For a second, she wondered if this was going to be the moment he would make her like him or kill her instead.

“No, Claire,” he spoke suddenly. She jumped, startled. “It’s up to you to say yes. And remember I did tell you I can read your thoughts.”
“Then please stop, because you’re freaking me out,” she said.
He arched one eyebrow, and for a moment, she feared he would attack her. But instead, he crossed one arm across his chest and put the opposite hand under his chin, as though contemplating something.
“I see you’ve accepted somewhat of what I revealed to you,” he finally said.
“A little.” She felt like she preparing for war.
“What?” He sounded curious. “Is there something else you can’t comprehend?”
“Yeah,” she said in a shaky voice. Her eyes were downcast, and when she was ready, she lifted them to look right at him. “I did some research while in New Jersey. There’s a lot of websites about real vampires.”
“Yes?” Daniel raised his eyebrows. 
Taking a deep breath, she said, “I think you killed Colin Willis.” 
His face expressionless, he lowered his arms and closed his eyes, shaking his head. He ran one hand over his face as Claire continued.
“I read a blog about his murder. There are rumors going around that he had two holes on the side of his neck. There was no blood in his body.” She swallowed and asked, almost pleading, “Did you really do it? Honestly, Dan?”
Removing his hand, he looked right at her and said, “I think you know the answer to that question.”
If you want to learn more about Megan’s writing, follow these links:
Twitter: @MeganCashman

Book can be found on Kindle here

 Thanks for the excerpt, Megan, and good luck with The Dark Proposal. 🙂